A Playboy model has lost an effort to dismiss a criminal charge for taking a photo of a naked 71-year-old woman at a gym and posting it on social media with disparaging remarks about the woman’s body.
A judge ruled on Monday against Dani Mathers in Los Angeles Superior Court in her bid to toss a misdemeanour count of invasion of privacy.
Mathers, 30, has acknowledged – and apologised for – taking the photo at an LA Fitness club and posting it on Snapchat in July with the caption: “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”
The 2015 Playmate of the year quickly became the target of online venom for the so-called body shaming incident.
After a lengthy hiatus from social media, Mathers returned to Instagram and Twitter this month, and vehemently denied ever body shaming anyone.
“I’ve never body shamed a person in my life and I don’t intend on starting now,” she tweeted on May 3.
@MikeHaw68289408 I've never body shamed a person in my life, and I don't intend on starting now. But I'm glad you believe everything the tabloids tell you🙏🏽
— Dani Mathers (@DaniMathers) May 2, 2017
On Tuesday (US time) Mathers told her 74,100 Twitter followers she was ready to move on from the scandal.
“I understand that I’ve upset a lot of you, but we’re at a point, 1 year later, where I’m pretty upset and hurt too,” she wrote.
Her lawyers said she meant to send the photo privately to a friend and inadvertently posted it publicly.
Mathers’ career as a model and radio host has been destroyed by the incident, defence lawyers say.
Mathers, who has no criminal record, has offered to make amends by using her notoriety to bring attention to the issue of body shaming.
Prosecutors have pushed for a conviction on the charge and four weeks of community service with a road crew, according to court papers.
She’s shown no remorse and “should face the consequences of her cruel and criminal act,” Deputy City Attorney Chadd Kim said.
Mathers defended herself on Twitter, writing to a follower on Tuesday: “I have shown remorse every moment of everyday … I’m sorry that if it can’t be seen on social media the remorse doesn’t exist to you.”
The defence unsuccessfully tried to get the case thrown out on the theory the law was vague about how “identifiable” a victim needs to be.
Attorney Dana Cole said the victim cannot be easily identified because the photo was shot from far away.
He said it took considerable effort for Los Angeles police and the gym to identify the woman, who has not been named.
Kim called the argument a “leap of illogic.”
Judge Gustavo Sztraicher said the law was valid and allowed the case to proceed. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for May 24.
Hiii everybody!! Long time no see…I've missed you so!💕After a much needed break from the social media madness I am fully recharged and CANNOT WAIT to share my adventures with you guys again!! I hope 2017 has been kind💛✌🏽#loveyouguys #positivevibesonly
A post shared by Dani Mathers (@missdanimathers) on